Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Duty Solicitors - Are the Streets of London Really Paved With Gold?

Question from Duty Solicitor:

We have spoken and corresponded a number of times over the last 8 yrs or so and I wonder if you are able to help at this juncture of my career. I am interested in freelancing which would mean my duty slots to a large firm. In London I am informed a £1200 retainer is available plus an average of £50k pa working hard one week a month - sounds like a no brainer!

The agency in London I have spoken to who are recruiting on behalf of 3 major London firms certainly talk the talk - but I am suspicious of how much rota work I would get given the volume of freelancers and employed solicitors on the rotas.

I want some security of earnings before I commit myself.

Answer from Jonathan Fagan, MD Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment

Hello. If it assists, let me tell you about 2 candidates we placed last year in London as freelancers (both central London) - one with a 1 partner firm, the other with a 20 solicitor practice.

The freelancer with the 1 partner firm earned about £25k for the year - this included doing prep work for the firm as well as his slots.

The second one is with a 20 solicitor practice and looks as if he may posssibly get up to around £20k.

There are a number of freelancers this year looking for salaried roles. I have a duty in London who has just accepted a salaried role of £27k.

I suspect that the agency is the one who appear to have made themselves duty solicitor experts this year and advertised heavily in the Law Society Gazette - presumably because so many other lines of legal recruitment work have collapsed in recent times......

That said, I have heard of freelancers in the past who have earnt good money.

Similarly I have also been involved when a very large crime outfit changed their terms and conditions and jettisoned entire duty solicitor teams who were earning too much money.

Think carefully before jumping - the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence....

Jonathan

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